Tricolon, anaphora and autonomasia in Obama’s speeches

Posted on November 28th, 2008 by

Ever since the historic speech that he gave at as a rookie senator at the 2004 Democratic Convention, Obama has been mesmerizing large audiences with his rousing speeches. Charlotte Higgins, writer for the Guardian and author of “It’s All Greek To Me: From Homer to the Hippocratic Oath, How Ancient Greece Has Shaped Our World” offers a provocative examinations Obama’s rhetorical strategies and notes that he is a scion of Cicero not only in his rhetorical tropes (yes, he uses every classical figure of speech, from the tricolon crescendo to the epiphora) but in his self-presentation as a novus homo. The article includes an interesting comment by Catherine Steel, my classmate, who compares Obama’s strategy as a self-made political figure with that of Cicero: like Cicero, we find Obama “setting up a genealogy of forebears – not biological forebears but intellectual forebears. For Cicero it was Licinius Crassus, Scipio Aemilianus and Cato the Elder. For Obama it is Lincoln, Roosevelt and King.” Here is the link to the article so you can get the full scoop:

 

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